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This third edition views African Americans in the British North-American mainland colonies more as their contemporaries did: as persons from one of the four continents who interacted economically, socially, and politically over a period of 180 years in a vast, vibrant, complex Atlantic world. It shows how the mainland North-American society that resulted from these interactions reflected the mix of Atlantic cultures and how the republic that a group of these people eventually constructed used European ideas to support creation of a favorable situation for those in control, persons largely of European descent. The African and African-American men and women, whose forebears had added greatly to the region’s economic and cultural viability, found themselves in 1789 with the least benefit from the nation they helped bring into existence.
Of special value is the book’s bibliographical essay, an expansion and updating of earlier versions that led the historian Ira Berlin to label Wright “the historiographer of slavery in the early period.”
Donald R. Wright is Distinguished Teaching Professor of History, Emeritus, at SUNY-Cortland. He is the author of African American in the Early Republic, 1789—1831 (1993) in the American History Series and The World and a Very Small Place in Africa: A History of Globalization in Niumi, The Gambia, 3rd ed. (2010), and co-author of The Atlantic World: A History (2007). His degrees are from DePauw University and Indiana University. He has received fellowships from Fullbright-Hays and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 2003 he was Scholar-in-Residence at the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. He lives in Homer, New York.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Third Edition and Acknowledgments ix
CHAPTER ONE: Atlantic Origins 9
Atlantic Africa 13
The Atlantic Trade 25
The Slaving Voyage 46
CHAPTER TWO: Development of Slavery in Mainland North America 62
The Chesapeake 66
The Low Country 80
The Lower Mississippi 92
New England and the Middle Colonies 97
Slavery and Racial Prejudice 106
CHAPTER THREE: African-American Culture 111
African in America 113
Demography, Community, and Culture 118
The Daily Toil 126
Folk Culture 148
Whites and Blacks, Men and Women, Humanity and Inhumanity 158
Resistance, Escape, and Rebellion 162
CHAPTER FOUR: The Revolutionary Era 173
Slavery and Ideology 175
Freedom for Some 181
Changing African-American Society 192
The Foundations of Caste 211
Securing the Blessings of Liberty 215
Bibliographical Essay 223
Africa in the Era of the Atlantic Trade, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries 17
Colonies of the North American Mainland in the Eighteenth Century 65